America is full of wind

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released its first Annual Report on US Wind Power Installation, Cost, and Performance Trends: 2006.

The report provides an overview of development and trends in the US wind power market. Most notably, the report concludes that US wind power capacity increased by 27 percent in 2006; and that the US had the fastest growing wind power capacity in the world in 2005 and 2006. More than 61 percent of the US‘s total wind capacity – over 7,300 Megawatts (MW) – has been installed since 2001.

‘As we work to implement President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative by increasing the use of home-grown, clean, affordable and renewable energy, we are eager to continue the trend of increasing the use of wind power at unprecedented rates,’ said DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner.

In 2006, the US is said to have led the world by installing 2,454MW of wind power capacity, enough to power the homes in a city the size of Philadelphia. The US produced roughly 16 percent of the worldwide wind market, followed by Germany, India, Spain, and China.

One of the report’s conclusions was that there remains substantial potential for the expansion of wind power to achieve approximately 20 percent of the USA’s generating mix.

Similarly, the report also found that wind power has consistently been priced at, or below, the average price of conventional electricity and that wind project performance has increased sharply over the last several years, driven in part by improved project siting, and technological advancements.

A full copy of the report can be found here.